A teenager who commuted from London to school in Bristol has won a place at the University of Oxford.
When Martha Heaps’ family moved from the West Country to Highbury in north London during lockdown, the 18-year-old did not want to disrupt her studies at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol.
For two years she either studied remotely from her home in Highbury or travelled more than 100 miles to stay with friends in Bristol when she attended classes.
Now the teenager has won a place at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, to read mathematics and philosophy after getting A*s in English literature, philosophy, maths and further maths.
“I really wanted to stay here for school,” she said.
“With Covid-19 it worked out that I was home schooling more in the first year of sixth form.
“The school made allowances so that I could stay more at home and learn remotely.”
Fellow student Iman Mohamed, from Fishponds, has won a place at the University of Bristol’s medical school.
“I did better than I thought because I did not think I would do as well in chemistry,” said the 18-year-old, who got A*s in biology, chemistry and maths.
“I am shocked I got into medical school. I am thinking about emergency medicine. I do love living in Bristol and if I didn’t work here, it would be another big metropolitan city.”
The teenager said the pandemic presented its own set of unique challenges for learning.
“It was very difficult at the start but the teachers have been absolutely superb here and they made the whole online learning much easier,” she said.
“These are the first exams I’ve done since Sats, so I am really pleased.”
Lucy Hennessy, 18, from Bedminster, was celebrating A*s in chemistry, maths, further maths and physics and was heading to the University of Cambridge’s Trinity Hall to read computer science.
“My results are what I was hoping for,” she said.
“I came to the sixth form from the main school and the teachers have been fantastic keeping in touch with us all on Teams during the pandemic.”
Adam Harvey, 19, from Stockwood, will be studying English and film studies at the University of Leeds after getting A*s in English literature, film and media.
The teenager said he had done better than he expected and was delighted to have won a place at university.
“I am very pleased and very, very happy. I wasn’t sure if I would be celebrating today,” he said.
“The pandemic did have its hurdles, but we wouldn’t have got here without the teachers and during the last two years the teachers have been nothing but great.”
Eighteen-year-old twins Thomas and Daniel Beech, from Bedminster, both got A*s in all the subjects they took and have won places at university.
Thomas will study mechanical engineering at the University of Bristol having got top grades in maths, further maths and physics.
His brother achieved A*s in English literature, history, politics and Spanish and is reading law at the London School of Economics.
Daniel said: “I am quite happy with my results – I didn’t think they would be as good, and I am pleasantly surprised.”
Thomas said: “I found the exams quite hard and I am very pleased to have exceeded my expectations.”
Interim headteacher Graham Diles said: “After two such challenging years, with the disruption of education by Covid-19 and its impact on students’ physical and mental health, we are thrilled that our sixth form students achieved an outstanding set of results, particularly given that they had never sat real external exams before.
“With 40% of results at A or A* it is the best we have ever achieved and in line with results from last year produced by teacher assessments.
“We could not be prouder of the resilience, positivity, and achievements of our students of all abilities, who have been determined to get the most out of their sixth form experience.”